The Social Relevance Of Competence
Few ideas have been adhered to so axiomatically as the assumption that competence in interpersonal relations is instrumental in producing socially valued outcomes. Academic curricula at all levels of the educational hierarchy have at times been justified by their relationship to social competence. Psychiatric, clinical, and popular skills training programs are predicated on this assumption. Research across a diverse spectrum of social scientific disciplines continues to expand rapidly, motivated by a largely implicit presumption that interpersonal competence is in fact important to quality of life. As evidence of this scholarly interest, Garmezy, Masten, Nordstrom, and Ferrarese (1979) developed a computer-assisted bibliography of titles that use such terms as “social competence” and “interpersonal competence.” The number of citations was compared to the number of citations on other selected topics and to the number of entries as a whole. When compared over time, the authors found that the absolute number, as well as the relative percentage, of “competence-related articles appears to be increasing” (p. 38). The authors have accumulated approximately 1,600 references considered relevant to interpersonal competence. Clearly, interpersonal competence is presumed to be a socially and academically important phenomenon.
KeywordsSocial Skill Social Anxiety Social Competence Interpersonal Skill Communication Competence
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